BECKY HAMMON EJECTED With 20secs Left After 2nd Technical! WNBA Los Angeles Sparks vs Las Vegas Aces

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Becky Hammon ejected in Aces’ disappointing collapse vs. Sparks

Becky Hammon is frustrated with the Aces play.

The Los Angeles Sparks secured their second consecutive victory and their most significant win of the season, defeating the two-time defending champions, Becky Hammon’s Las Vegas Aces, with a score of 96-92 on Sunday night. Hammon was irate after a late game collapse from her squad and was ejected at the 23.9 left.

The Las Vegas Aces remained undefeated until August 19 in the 2023 regular season, boasting 28 wins. However, in the first nine games of the 2024 season, they’ve already matched that number of losses, with their fourth loss further marred by coach Becky Hammon’s ejection.

Becky Hammon’s ejection

Las Vegas Aces head coach Becky Hammon speaks to her players on the court during the first half in game one of the 2023 WNBA Finals against the New York Liberty at Michelob Ultra Arena. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY SportsCandice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Hammon was issued her initial technical for disputing a no-call involving A’ja Wilson during the third quarter. Her persistent chirping at the referees led to a subsequent technical for leaving the coaches’ box.

Becky Hammon mentioned that she was attempting to instruct her team to employ a defensive blitz, which led to her exit from the game, and the first ejection of a coach in the WNBA this season.

The defending champs were without their starting guards Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young in Los Angeles. Then, they lost coach Becky Hammon to an ejection in the fourth quarter.

Physical Aces-Sparks matchup

Last season, Las Vegas started with a strong 19-2 record before the All-Star break, benefiting from the presence of Chelsea Gray and Candace Parker. However, this year has presented more hurdles, especially with Gray yet to see any playing time.

“We got beat up on the glass a little bit, we got beat up in general,” Hammon noted via Sabreena Merchant of The Athletic. “Play on. That’s how it goes in this league.” The Aces had eight fewer fouls called against them compared to the Sparks, yet both teams remarked on the physicality of the game and several uncalled fouls.

There weren’t any glaring uncalled fouls similar to the incident when A’ja Wilson was struck across the head against the Dallas Wings last week without a foul being called.

However, there were numerous appeals from Wilson and the bench for more fouls to be called by the referees. Wilson received a technical foul at the same time as Hammon’s first technical for her complaints.

Wilson also took a hard fall after being fouled by Cameron Brink, which led to a stoppage in play for a couple of minutes.

A’ja Wilson leading the Aces despite the loss

A’ja Wilson had an impressive 31 points, exceeding her league-leading average by three points, leading Las Vegas (5-4). However, despite her stellar performance, the Aces has faced setbacks with three losses in their last four games.

Wilson has now scored 20 or more points in 14 consecutive regular-season games, surpassing Diana Taurasi’s previous record of 13. This season alone, Wilson has achieved 30 or more points in three games.

Plum, who had a tough shooting night (7-of-22 from the field), also picked up a technical foul in the third quarter after colliding with a screen set by Dearica Hamby. These technicals were the first of the season for Plum, Wilson, and Hammon.

Hamby ended the game with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Aari McDonald contributed 16 points coming off the bench for the Los Angeles Sparks.

Dearica Hamby shot 6 of 10, including a 3-pointer, and converted 5 of 6 free throws for the Sparks (4-7), marking their first consecutive wins of the season. McDonald, on the other hand, made 5 of 8 shots, including two 3-pointers, and sank all four of her free throws. McDonald’s performance was crucial as the LA bench outscored Las Vegas’ substitutes 40-17.

Despite the loss, Hammon and Wilson displayed a positive attitude during the postgame news conference on Sunday. They laughed and smiled, with Wilson even joking about missing Hammon during the game’s final moments, injecting a bit of lightheartedness into the discussion.

The loss pushed the Aces down to fifth place in the Western Conference Commissioner’s Cup standings. Their next game is at home on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against the Minnesota Lynx.